Apologies everyone, I didn’t mean for this to happen. When I turned 40 in February 2020 and loudly (some might say drunkenly) announced that this was to be the year of Helen and it would be a year like no other, this was not what I had in mind. In fact, it was the ultimate jinx.
Be careful what you wish for indeed, because, despite all the bollocks this year has presented, I certainly got what I was asking for. The year of Helen, and pretty much nobody else. After a year in my own company, it turns out I am a right pain in the arse.
I have learnt a lot. I have discovered I am quite resilient, but also a right fucking mess of a person. I leant and built on my strengths, but my goodness did I also find out what my weaknesses are. For every triumph, there has been a massive failure. I have made and lost friends. I have leant on people and been leant on. I have tried to bend into the wind and not let myself or others break. I have been the best and worst Mum, daughter, sister and wife I could be; sometimes in the same conversation. I have never felt more connected, nor have I felt more lonely. I have cried with joy and misery, every day, without fail. I have seen great social injustice and felt immense anger and despair, then I have shut myself up in my ivory tower and turned my face away in denial and relief. I have given when I could and tried not to be too proud to take when I needed to. I have learnt new things and forgotten lessons I could have done with remembering. I have danced, I have slept, I have read, I have cooked, I have eaten, I have sung, I have walked and I have drunk, then drunk some more. I have marvelled at the resilience of the human species and hung my head in furious disappointment at our stupidity. I have never felt so trapped, nor so free. I have never been so productive, nor so lazy. I have never been so proud, nor so ashamed of myself.
So there you go, the year of Helen. It was the best if times, it was the worst of times. I am incredibly grateful to have got to the end of it with the full roll call of people I love and who love me. To be honest, I am terrified that I will not be so lucky next year, but that is life and in this particular moment on this particular day, I am OK, and that is more than good enough.
Happy New Year from my Interrupted Family to yours. Let’s take ourselves for another spin round the sun and see what happens next. Good luck everyone, thanks for listening, reading, laughing and crying along with me, you are all beautiful.